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Make a video, help LGBT youth 

I just read about a gay teenager in Indiana — Billy Lucas — who killed himself after being taunted by his classmates. Now his Facebook memorial page is being defaced by people posting homophobic comments. It's just heartbreaking and sickening. What the hell can we do?

Gay Bullying Victim Who Survived

Another gay teenager in another small town has killed himself — hope you're pleased with yourselves, Tony Perkins and all the other "Christians" out there who oppose anti-bullying programs (and give actual Christians a bad name). Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother's property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates, who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body.

Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids.

I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay — or from ever coming out — by depriving them of information, resources and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don't have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better.

So here's what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.

I've launched a channel on YouTube — www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject — to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied, and we are living proof that it gets better. We don't dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now — our families, our friends (gay and straight), the things we've experienced — that we would've missed out on if we'd killed ourselves then.

"You gotta give 'em hope," Harvey Milk said.

The video my husband and I made is up now. I'd like to add submissions from other gay and lesbian adults — singles and couples, with kids or without, established in careers or just starting out, urban and rural, of all races and religious backgrounds. (Go to www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject to find instructions for submitting your video.) If you're gay or lesbian or bi or trans and you've ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, "Fuck, I wish I could've told him that it gets better," this is your chance. We can't help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there and we can help them.

They need to know that it gets better. Submit a video. Give them hope.

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